Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Book Publishing Secrets: Charles Leon Fantroy Jr., author of 'My Life: Poetic Literature'



Charles Leon Fantroy Jr. was born and raised in Washington D.C. His journey through the trenches of a Federal Penitentiary started at seventeen years old. He honed and practiced his writing skills during his years of incarceration behind the four walls of Leavenworth, as a way to express himself. Now at the conscious age of thirty six, he has finally perfected his true passion, which is to share his rhythmical array of completed poems, fictional novels, as well as full length movie scripts. He has continued to educate himself in completing eighteen months at Stratford University as a certified internet specialist. Charles Leon Fantroy Jr. is soon to be released from prison where he looks to delve into a bright future of continuing to write quality novels and movie scripts as well as being a positive influence to society.

For More Information
Thank you for your time in answering our questions about getting published.  Let’s begin by having you explain to us why you decided to become an author and pen this book?
Charles: My journey has been a long one, and through my journey I've documented my thoughts over the years in a way that some may refer to as spoken word poetry. Initially the thought of publishing my poems wasn't a thought. But the more and more I've realized that the words I've penned onto paper can possibly have a positive  influence on someone, at that second the decision was made to share my thoughts with the world.
Is this your first book?
Charles: Yes this is my first published book.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Charles: I am published through a traditional publication company. I chose JourStarr Publications not just because the timing was right, but because of the professionalism in which the company presented themselves.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
Charles: A number of years ago I was sought out by a well known publication company, in regards to one of my novels that I had written. It was a humbling experience, but inevitably I turned the offer down.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Charles: Well, I've learned first and foremost, that the first deal from a publication company isn't always the best deal. I would advise all authors to know their worth in respects to their body of material. I believe that the publishing industry is blossoming with promising authors. As long as publication companies don't sacrifice quantity over quality.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Charles: Yes, I would recommend the traditional way of publishing for any one who is interested. There is nothing at all wrong with self publishing in my eyes. But if you're dealing with a traditional publication company, you have a broader outlet in regards to marketing, distribution, and a whole slew of knowledgeable professionals who are adapt in the field of literary writing.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Charles: First, I would say to believe in yourself, because if you don't believe in your own craft, how can you expect someone to believe in you. Secondly, don't get discouraged, continue to write and once that first book is published then you've completed a spectacular feat, making the journey all worth the while.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Book Publishing Secrets with Randy Rawls, Author of DATING DEATH

Name: RandyRawls
Book Title: DATING DEATH
Genre: Mystery
Publisher: White Bird Publications
Thank you for your time in answering our questions about getting published.  Let’s begin by having you explain to us why you decided to become an author and pen this book?
Author: I've been an avid reader all my life and wondered many times whether I could write a book. I started several during various stages of my career, but usually gave them up for lack of time. Finally, in the 1990's, I started one and, a year later, wrote THE END. That was my proof I could do it, and I've been doing it since. As for this book, it's book 3 in the Beth Bowman series. Like all my books, it's taken from news headlines.
Is this your first book?
Author: No, there were eleven (11) published before this one, two in the Beth Bowman series. Plus some others buried on my hard drive, never to see the light of day.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Author: DATING DEATH is published by White Bird Publications, a small press based in Austin, Texas. They are an independent publisher, catering to excellent authors in different genres. I was impressed with White Bird Pubs. It was the first time in my publishing experience that one of my manuscripts received three (3) edits from three (3) different editors. They were very professional in their approach to publishing, yet very cooperative.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
Author: About every twist and turn you can imagine. After banging my head against the "traditional" publishing world, I opted to self-publish my first book—JAKE'S BURN, an Ace Edwards, Dallas PI story. That was long before the epubishing craze of Amazon and Barnes and Noble were dreamed of. JAKE'S did okay, so I self-pubbed the second in the series, JOSEPH'S KIDNAPPING. They gave me the credentials to impress an independent publisher, and the Ace Edwards series became more legitimate. That's been pretty much my track record since. Trying to break in on the "traditional" publishing world, while nibbling around the edges with independent publishers. After Amazon and the others came along and introduced epublishing, I even did a couple of books with them. And, I also got lucky and had the first two of my Beth Bowman books traditionally published.
          Pros: Using the opportunities I had, I've been able to have a dozen books published, DATING DEATH being the latest.
          Cons: The small presses don't have the assets the big guys do, neither in money or contacts. Thus, the author is pretty much on his own with promotion and book-selling opportunities.

What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Author: Every writer's dream (at least, my dream) is to land a lucrative contract with a big NYC publisher and to watch my book receive first-rate promotion. Yet, to land such a contract, one must have an agent. And, to get an agent, you have to offer far more than a good book. You must be in a position to offer long-term income to the agent. Investing in a one-book wonder, or someone past the prime of life is not a successful way for an agent to survive. Every writer needs to know this and be prepared to go it on his own. The small, independent publishers are golden. They are our best opportunity to move forward. And, for the very lucky, it might be the door that opens the way to an agent and that lucrative contract with a big NYC publisher. It has happened before. It can happen again. 
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Author: Yes, but only after you've tried the traditional routes. Patience is the key. It's hard to let your manuscript languish on your hard drive while the biggies are pushing out books of less quality, but you must do it. Give it a year, maybe two years. If you haven't connected by then, look for a small press. Then, as a last resort, self-publish.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Author: Have patience and see the previous paragraph. The road to being published is long, twisting, and, often, ridiculous. You must have the stamina and the patience to weather all the storms along the way. Don't expect to rich or famous. Simply enjoy the writing and the fans who adopt you.


Thursday, April 14, 2016

Book Publishing Secrets with Rosie Claverton, author of Captcha Thief (The Amy Lane Mysteries #3)

Genre: Mystery
Publisher: Crime Scene Books
Thank you for your time in answering our questions about getting published. Let’s begin by having you explain to us why you decided to become an author and pen this book?
Rosie: I've always written stories. I was an imaginative child, and used my primary school “show and tell” to create the most outrageous tales. I messed around with novels throughout my teenage years, but I decided to take novel-writing seriously when I was finishing university. I saw a career of medicine ahead of me, and the creative side of me rebelled. I wanted to be a doctor and  a writer!
Is this your first book?
Rosie: Captcha Thief is the third novel in The Amy Lane Mysteries, but it's my first paperback publication. The first two novels Binary Witness and Code Runner were ebook-only releases. I also have a number of finished and unfinished projects in the virtual desk drawers of my laptop.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Rosie: The Amy Lane Mysteries started with a digital-first press attached to a large publishing house. That was a fascinating experience for a first-time author and I formed good relationships there, particularly with my editor Deb Nemeth. Alas, they didn't want to continue the series, so I had to consider my options. Crime Scene Books are a small independent press, and the editor Sarah Williams approached me, as a fan of the first two novels. I leapt at the chance to continue the series. I'm enjoying knowing everyone in the process of creating my novel and being one of a few authors valued by my publisher.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
Rosie: I gained my first book deal by pitching on Twitter! My editor liked the concept of Binary Witness and I was offered a two-book publishing contract. I tried to find an agent at this time, but with the tight deadline, I wasn't able to fully pursue that avenue.  I don't regret starting out with a digital-first press and learning my author lessons there, but I'm glad I'm moving on from that to a small independent press. I wish I had held out a little longer for an agent and I'm still hunting for that perfect agent partner to champion my next novel and to be my ally in navigating the world of publishing.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Rosie: Regardless of the way you publish, the author is responsible for a lot of self-promotion. I hadn't realised that when I wrote the book. My knowledge of the world of publishing has improved dramatically with experience, but I should've gone in with my eyes open.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Rosie: I think that depends on your goals as an author. If you want your book in every shop with adverts on the Tube, you need a Big 5 publisher. If you want to be solely in charge of your own book destiny, and willing to put in all the work, you need self-publishing. If you want something in between, you should look at digital-first and small press publishing.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Rosie: Before you look for an agent or a publisher, or make a decision about self-publishing, read everything by highly-successful and midlist authors about how that's working out for them. The best people to look at are the hybrid authors in your genre, who have both traditionally-published and self-published novels. But first, and most importantly: FINISH THE BOOK. It may only be the beginning of the journey, but it is the only essential step!



Thursday, April 7, 2016

Book Publishing Secrets with Sylvia Dickey Smith

Book Title: Original Cyn
Genre: Contemporary fiction
Publisher: White Bird Publishing
Thank you for your time in answering our questions about getting published.  Let’s begin by having you explain to us why you decided to become an author and pen this book?
Sylvia: Well, you know, you can talk about writing a book only so long. I realized I had said it one time too many when a dear friend told me to stop talking about writing a book and put my rear in the chair and write it. Guess you could call that a “Put up our shut up.”
I penned this book out of a passion for questions. The first half of my life I’d been given answers that at mid-life no longer fit my questions. This story is about a woman much like me, who allowed her parents and then her husband to spoon-feed her pabulum. (Do parents still feed their children that stuff?) When events outside her control shatter her world and the answers no longer fit, how does she find her way out of the chaos?
Is this your first book?
Sylvia: No it isn’t. This is my seventh book. Four novels and a cookbook in the Sidra Smart Mystery Series and the WWII homefront historical fiction, A War Of Her Own.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Sylvia: I chose Indie press, White Bird Publishing. I chose White Bird because I was impressed by their commitment to not only publish, but to also market the book by personally attending book festivals all over the country. I was also impressed with their quality and responsiveness.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
Sylvia: Wow. Big question. I suppose my journey has taken me down as many paths as exist in the business. After close to ninety rejections, I landed an agent for my first book,
Dance On His Grave, only to learn the adage, a bad agent is worse that no agent. We parted ways and I began the process of sending out another large number of query letters. My next agent seemed like she was ‘heaven sent.’ A few months later I discovered that no news is not always good news. The agent had closed her business three months earlier and not let me know.
After that, I approached a small Indie press who offered me a contract and published the first three of the Sidra Smart series. Later I moved to another Indie press.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Sylvia: I learned the publishing industry is not for the faint of heart. Plus, I learned the only way to go is to let each rejection you receive serve as fuel to the fire. Let the “No thank you” letters make you more determined to keep at it. When Neg Letters come, send out ten more query letters. Determination, persistence and bull-headedness works.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Sylvia: Indie publishing? Most definitely, for without them, many exceptional books would never get published. Authors write because they can’t not write.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Sylvia:

  • Write without blinking.
  • Continue to hone your craft.
  • Become part of a good critique group.
  • Associate with other writers.
  • Rewrite, rewrite, rewrite.
  • Read your final copy out loud—every single solitary word—before you send it out.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Book Publishing Secrets with Clea Simon, Author of 'When Bunnies Go Bad'

Name: Clea Simon
Book Title: When Bunnies Go Bad
Genre: cozy mystery
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Thank you for your time in answering our questions about getting published.  Let’s begin by having you explain to us why you decided to become an author and pen this book?
Author: I’ve always been a writer and storyteller, and I’ve been writing mysteries for more than 10 years now.
Is this your first book?
Author: “When Bunnies Go Bad” is the sixth in my Pru Marlowe pet noir cat cozy mystery series.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Author: I prefer to be traditionally published, and Poisoned Pen Press is a highly respected mystery-only publisher.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
Author: I started as a journalist, so I knew something about writing and rewriting and revising and rewriting and… best advice I can give  is keep at it. And listen when you get criticism. Your first draft is just that. Everybody needs to revise (and revise and revise).
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Author: Yes. It is harder, but you will produce a better book.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Author: Keep at it and listen to your critics. Revise and rewrite – it will make your book stronger and more fun for the reader.



Saturday, April 2, 2016

Book Publishing Secrets with Author Ian A.O’Connor

Genre: Historical fiction /Medical Crime
Publisher: Pegasus Publishing & Entertainment Group
Thank you for your time in answering our questions about getting published.  Let’s begin by having you explain to us why you decided to become an author and pen this book?
Ian: I knew rather early in life that I wanted to write stories. My parents instilled in their four children a love for reading, so to me it was a natural progression to begin writing my own stories. The Wrong Road Home was a fascinating project from the gitgo. Here was a true story of a man who presented himself as a successful surgeon to the public for over twenty years on two continents until he was finally exposed as a fraud.
Is this your first book?
Ian: No, it’s my sixth published book. When people ask what I write, I usually reply, “thrillers,” but I also co-authored the memoir of a world famous U.S. Air Force aviator, which I really enjoyed doing.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Ian: I have published both with traditional presses and with Indie presses. Both have their virtues and their vices. But the publishing world is changing at the speed of light, literally, think digital, and that’s where using an Indie Press can be a win-win proposition for an author. The time it takes to get a book to print with one of the five major publishing houses can easily take two years or more from the time they accept a work to the time it hits the bookstores. That can be frustrating. An Indie Press can cut that timeframe down to six or nine months once the “go” sign has been given and a contract signed.  Cover design, editing, printing, marketing and all the sundry things needed to launch a new book come together so much faster. And that’s why I went the Indie route with The Wrong Road Home.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
Ian: My first book took me three years from the time I finished the manuscript to finding it a home. I remember the wonderful sense of pride and accomplishment I felt as I held a real book with my name on its cover for the very first time. The other books followed in intervals of several years. I spend up to two years researching my material and another year writing the story. Then comes editing, revising, more editing, and lastly, a professional edit. Only then I am satisfied the work is publisher-ready.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Ian: Being a professional writer is tough, and it’s not for the thin-skinned or fainthearted. Plan on rejection slips being your constant companion, but if you believe in yourself and your abilities, then never, never give up. Some authors are charmed, and lightning strikes the very first time they submit a manuscript. Such good fortune is very rare. So my advice is take comfort in the wisdom of Aesop’s Fable about the tortoise and the hare. I certainly did, and I have no regrets that my journey took a tad longer.  I’m a much better writer as a result.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Ian: Working with an Indie publisher can be very rewarding. But it is not for everyone, so I would counsel authors to always keep an open mind and choose the publishing path that’s best for each project.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Ian: Write, write, write – but don’t give up your day job! And be sure to visit my website at www.ianaoconnor.com




Thursday, March 24, 2016

Book Publishing Secrets with Julie Ann James, Author of 'Irish Jewel'

Name: Julie Ann James
Book Title: Irish Jewel
Genre: Fiction/Suspense/Thriller
Thank you for your time in answering our questions about getting published.  Let’s begin by having you explain to us why you decided to become an author and pen this book?
Author: Julie Ann James
Is this your first book?
Author:  Irish Jewel is the 7th book that I have written and published.   I have published 5 children’s books and one other novel, Haunted Echoes. I do have another novel that is in the works at this moment and the title is, The Ribbon Key.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Julie Ann: I published through my own company, the Peppertree Press which is an Independent Press that is located in beautiful downtown Sarasota, Florida.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
Julie Ann: I have always wanted to be a writer since I was ten years old. I didn’t actually start writing seriously until after my children were in middle school. All I really wanted is to get a byline and not necessarily be paid for it. I submitted many short stories for parenting magazines and then switched gears and started writing children’s books.  I can recall my first published piece which means that was my first byline. I received a check for $25.00 and because I was so excited, never cashed it.  I later submitted many children’s stories to what I refer to as the “Big Houses” most of their offices are in  New York, and they filled my mailbox with those dreaded rejection letters.  I later found a self-publishing company online and published two books with them.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Julie Ann: I have learned so much in all these years, especially after self-publishing.  With that said, during this process I decided to start my own publishing company and offer the personal touch that writers so deserve. I have learned that you don’t have to be traditionally published to become a successful author as long as you love writing, work hard and get the word out, literally.  It is important to keep yourself grounded and keep your expectations in check at all times.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Julie Ann: Yes, I absolutely recommend to authors to independently publish their manuscripts.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Julie Ann:  The best advice I can give an aspiring author is to: 
  1. Keep a pad of paper by your bedside at all times since you never know when you will be inspired to write, even if it is in the middle of the night.
  2. Don’t just talk about becoming a published writer, actually make it happen, and never give up.
  3. Be grateful when you sell even one copy because that one copy could make a real impact on the reader.